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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

The politics of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Author: Matheson, L.
Author Background:
Date 3/1/96
Type Journal
Journal Title: Social-Work
Volume/Pages 41(2) p. 232-35
Subject Matter Native Americans
Abstract Although the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) became federal law in 1978, many people in the human services fields are still unaware of its directives for removing American Indian children from their biological homes, or for makingappropriate placement. Others seem not to realize that there is such a law, nor believe that they are bound to adhere to it. The impact of this Act on professional practices is profound. The roles of Indian communities as well asstate and local officials are altered dramatically. Because of the relationship between the tribes and the federal government, politics plays a significant, and perhaps necessary part in every phase of placing an American Indian child forfoster care or adoption. This study presents a case composite and applies portions of the Indian Child Welfare Act, explaining the Act s primary focus and detailing historical events leading to its enactment. In its best application,the ICWA is an excellent vehicle for mutual respect and collaboration between a variety of interests toward the resolution of conflicts in Indian Child Welfare cases. (Journal abstract.)